Company Statement Control Union Certifications B.V.
Control Union Certifications (CUC) has withdrawn the status of Control Union Turkey as a critical office for international Organic certification programs. This voluntary suspension, effective since 17 April 2019 is part of the rigorous measures CUC has taken in response to concerns raised by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Commission (EC) about the quality of certification in the Organic sector.
The USDA has issued a Notice of Suspension over CU Turkey’s NOP certification. It is clear to CUC that the USDA’s concerns at the basis of the Notice of Suspension are aimed at the Organic certification activities of its Turkey office only. CUC came to a similar conclusion in its internal audit, and identified that its Turkey office lacks the expertise to sufficiently manage the process for certification of Organic production, and had therefore been unable to keep pace with the rapid growth it went through recently. The decision by CUC to withdraw the critical office status of Control Union Turkey relates to all Organic projects managed by CU Turkey. Other programs managed by CU Turkey are unaffected by this decision.
This decision is part of a series of decisive measures, implemented with immediate effect, to structurally improve the knowledge base of Organic standards and the quality of audits and customer service by Control Union Turkey. These measures comprise:
• Comprehensive staff training, both in-house and online
• Increased rigour in auditing internal procedures
• Stock inventory at all certified clients in critical countries
To guarantee continuity of business operations and a reliable certification process to customers in the affected countries, all certification decisions for USDA NOP and EU Organic in the countries mentioned will be done by other CU offices or other recognized Certification Bodies with which CUC is in touch. Companies directly affected by the decision have been informed.
Only when Control Union Turkey has sufficiently proven to CUC its capacity to manage projects according to Organic regulations, CUC will ask for re-instatement of its Turkish office as a critical office for USDA NOP. CUC has decided not to appeal USDA NOP’s decision. Rather, it is actively cooperating in order to provide NOP certified operations by CUC Turkey with guidance on how to change Certification Agent without immediately being affected by this suspension. Recently, CUC has renewed its application for recognition by the European Commission (EC) as a control body for EU Organic for Turkey, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Moldova.
CUC appreciates the legislative oversight of both the USDA and the EC to uphold the reliability of Organic certification. We are determined to contribute to the trust needed for the Organic community to flourish and we will communicate transparently about the implementation our measures and our progress.
Zwolle, the Netherlands, May 10, 2019